Yet another year is drawing to a close for us all. 2018 has been a difficult year in many ways for farmers, and even though the summer was favorable, that too came with its own problems in some parts of the Country.
Throughout all of the uncertainty that has been carried through most forms of media, the ONE certainty is the ever-growing demand for Charolais in both the commercial and pedigree sales rings. You have all as breeders contributed to that, and for your on-going work and support I would like to say thank you on behalf of myself and all council members.
As a council working with your Secretary Nevan, we do what we can to reduce costs on every member, whether it is the reduction in the registration and female transfer fees, the re-introduction of de-registration’s, and now the Society has purchased a young bull in France, whose semen will be made available to members at cost price. Collectively these saving’s will make a difference to us all. We will continue to look for more new bloodlines that will enhance our gene pool here in Ireland.
On a promotional note, the National Show held in conjunction with the National Livestock Show in Tullamore, once again this year proved to be a real spectacle of the quality you as breeders are producing. It is a stand-out shop window that I have no doubt has drawn customers to our sales rings.
The nationwide sponsorship of CHX weanling sales has been very well received this year with an obvious gap appearing between Charolais and everything else sold through the ring.
The Elite Heifer Sale held in November surpassed all expectations for the demand on females. The quality on offer was exceptional this year and the figures for the sale back that up.
I would like to congratulate Nicole Mc Padden on winning the Marketing Competition ran by the ICCS this year and wish her well with her pedigree Charolais heifer. It is important that we utilise the brains of our youth and take on-board their ideas. After all, they are the future.
Sales have gained momentum during the Autumn with the Christmas Cracker being the pinnacle of that. The standard of bulls on offer was tremendous and the demand for quality achieved a 74% clearance rate this year, again surpassing all other breeds. Tuam was once again a successful sale in 2018 and we are also exploring the possibilities for new sales venues going forward.
Earlier in 2018, myself and a delegation from council met with the EU Commissioner, Phil Hogan, and on the back of that meeting managed to be invited to the Oireachtas where we were given the opportunity to voice and highlight some of the concerns relating to the BDGP scheme, one being the fact that cross bred bulls are allowed to be used in the scheme, reducing the need for pedigree bulls. We also highlighted the decrease in the number of R & U grade cattle in the factories, and the concerns at the decline been seen in the number of suckler cows in the country with breeders having to cull quality females due to their figures. These concerns had been voiced by both Charolais breeders and suckler farmers alike.
Of late, the newly formed Beef Plan Movement has been and will continue to be a voice for the suckler and beef producers of the country. The ICCS was the first breed society to publicly endorse this group. We can only hope that every farming organisation gets behind this group voluntarily and gives them the much-needed support they deserve.
Lastly, I want to thank both ICCS staff and council members for their help and support during 2018, as well as you the members that make up our Society.
Wishing you all a happy, healthy, peaceful Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.